I decided to move these posts over from "What Comics Have You Read Today?" and make a discussion out of it.

GREEN LANTERN: I started re-reading Archive volume one today (August 23), which comprises Showcase #22-24 and Green Lantern #1-5.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES, v2 (#6-13): I have already mentioned elsewhere that Tracy finds that Hal Jordan's parents did not give him an alliterative name as they did their other two boys to be completely unbelievable. Political correctness aside, "Pieface" is a stupid nickname. (I rank it right up there with "King Faraday" and "Tom, Dick & Harriet.) Personally, I find the term "little Eskimo grease monkey" (which Broome uses at least once each issue) to be even more offensive. The covers of each of these issues stands out in my memory, but the splash pages are quite distinctive and memorable as well. I have learned to skip all of the footnotes (as well as the oath) in order to avoid repetition.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v3 (#14-21): Up until this point, all stories had been by John Broome and Gil Kane, but in this volume, Gardner Fox writes one story (of two in each issue) in #16, 17 and #21. Also, in #18, Mike Sekowsky pencils six pages (over Gil Kane layouts). The Gardner Fox story in #16, "Earth's First Green Lantern," is remarkable in that it answers the question, given that a Green Lantern can fly through space via his or her power ring alone, why was Abin Sur travelling in a spaceship in Showcase #22? Fox provides a convoluted explanation regarding energy creatures called Larifars and the theft of "I-factors" from victim races.

What makes this story remarkable is that Alan Moore provided a completely different explanation in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2 (1986). As I recalled these two contradictory stories, I preferred the one by Alan Moore... until I re-read them both in the course of this project. Whereas both stories use the explanation that Abin Sur is using a spaceship because he's worried about his ring losing its charge, in the Fox story, he does so as a ruse so (for convoluted reasons, as I mentioned) Larifars do not see him recharge his ring' "Earth's First Green Lantern" knows his ring will remain charged until the time limit is up. Alan Moore's story, as entertaining as it is otherwise, does not account for this fact, so I must change my favorite to the earlier Gardner Fox story.

GREEN LANTERN ARCHIVES v4 (#22-29): Within these eight issues, John Broome wrote five stories, Gardner Fox wrote ten. The comics themselves were published without credits, but that information is provided in the table of contents. It's fun to guess which stories were written by witch writer. [HINT: The distinctive way Fox uses nouns as verbs is a dead giveaway, as is his use of the term "star-sun." He also tends to throw in more theoretical physics.) Also this volume includes: the third appearance of Hector Hammond (#22), the first appearance of the Tattooed Man (#23), the first two appearances of the Shark (#24 & #28), [arguably] the first appearance of Mogo (#24), the return of Sonar (#25), the return of Star Sapphire (#26), the first appearance of Black Hand (#29), a cameo appearance by the Justice League of America, and more. The first solo Green Lantern story I ever read ("The House that Fought Green Lantern" reprinted in a 100-Pager in 1974) originally appeared in #28. Tracy finds it even more implausible that Hal wasn't given an alliterative name after the introduction of Judge Jeremiah Jordan. No "weenie-ization" of Hal Jordan yet. 

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Just a few comments about Guy Gardner:

  • Hal finally told Guy about almost becoming GL and let him go into action but a "faulty" power battery sucked him in from #116 (My'79). 
  • That led to Hal breaking the new to Guy's girlfriend, the psychic Kari Limbo but this led to the two dating and very quickly almost getting married in #122 (N'79) but it's revealed that Guy is in the Phantom Zone seeing all this and allies himself with General Zod against Hal and Superman. The heroes escape, leaving Guy behind but Kari cannot marry Hal as she still loves Guy!
  • Then in #123 (D'79), the issue that dropped Green Arrow from the cover, Hal returns to the Phantom Zone to rescue Guy but he is taken away by Sinestro. The battle later sees Guy injured with brain damage and left in a vegetative state. Kari tells Hal she will tend to Guy.
  • While in this condition, Guy cameos in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #3 (Jl'81)

Oops. I jumped the gun a bit in my treatment of #194. Guy Gardner was not given his GL accouterments in that issue; it was in #195, as you can tell by the cover below. At the end of #194, the Guardian whisks Guy off to Oa and Hal tags along for the ride.

#195:

Obviously the cover was drawn to heighten the mystery. Is it Guy or is it Hal? [SPOILER] It's Guy. [END SPOILER] As the approach the planet, the Guardian drops Hal off in the desert. Guy remarks that his mind and thoughts are clear, and the Guardian concurs. We'll chalk up Guy's desecration of Abin Sur's grave to a clouded mind, but I want you to remember: his mind is certified clear at this point. Guy's history is related in flashback, and it is also at this point I started buying the run of backissues Philip detailed above. It is also when I decided I wanted issue #40, but it was to take another 17 years (and a wedding anniversary) before I got one. 

Stuck in the desert, Hal decides that he made a mistake resigning from the Corps and he wants his ring back. At this point I should mention that the Guardians are split into two factions: a passive group who accept their fate for Kronos creating the anti-matter universe in the first place; and a proactive group who grant Guy Gardner his new status. Hal makes his way to the Guardians and offers his services. Unfortunately, he has reached the passive group, who refuse his offer and return him to Earth. 

#196, the chapter titled "3", deals with Guy Gardner, Hal Jordan and John Stewart all returning to Earth (Guy and Hal from Oa, John from fighting in the "Crisis"). Guy throws a little tantrum in his home town of Baltimore, then sets out to restore the Shark to life (in order to prove his mettle plus he has a plan to recruit a bunch of villains to attack the Anti-Monitor); John rejoins Katma Tui (who was ordered by the Guardians to stay on Earth while John fought in the Crisis); and Hal seeks out John Stewart. 

Hal reveals to John that he was John's predecessor and offers his help and advice in whatever capacity John sees fit. Steve Englehart really bends over backwards these last three issues to show that Hal is really manning up here, and I again recommend a closer look at this run to anyone who sees Hal's earlier characterization as "weinie-ization." Guy's tussle with the Shark gets away from him and ends up here (the Shark seeking the Green Lantern he knows, not Guy). It falls to John to defeat the Shark, then...

CLIFFHANGER: John and Guy prepare to square off. 

The cover saying "the power is mine again" confuses me, The "again" part doesn't sound right. Gardner never had the ring before, did he?

QUOTE: "I was a Green Lantern before, even if ir was only for a day--but this time, I'm goin' on forever!"

-Guy Gardner - Green Lantern #195

(Maybe the cover is misdirection.)

Again, Guy Gardner briefly had the power ring in Green Lantern #116.

#197:

This issue picks up exactly where #196 left off (see cover; except Hal Jordan is not there, having been sent to a place of safety by John Stewart). After an initial skirmish, Gardner defeats Stewart. Gardner and the Shark spring Hector Hammond from prison and teo guards are apparently killed. Then they free Sonar, Throttle, Blindside and Goldface for an assault on Qward. Stewart checks on Jordan, but he has disappeared... from an energy sphere in Earth orbit! After her energy duplicate returns from her own sector (her home planet was in ruins), she joins Stewart just as he is about to confront Gardner and his criminal band. Suddenly, Hal Jordan arrives, wearing a power ring but not in a Green Lantern uniform.

He explains that he was freed from the energy sphere by the same Guardian who granted Guy Gardner his ring and battery. the Guardian still doesn't trust Hal, but agrees to allow him the use of a power ring, without reinstating him as a Green Lantern, on the condition that he assist Guy Gardner in his assault on Qward. Hal agrees. The Guardian admits that Guy Gardner is mentally "damaged." Hal convinces John and Katma to let him leave with Guy and the rest.

CLIFFHANGER: Sinestro appears on the scene and proposes an alliance with Katma and John!

#198:

This double-size issue contains both chapters "1" and "0" in the countdown, and is chock-full of "Crisis". With Sinestro's help, John Stewart is able to physically traverse the distance to Oa and pierce the energy field which has surrounded it since the Crisis began, thus preventing GLs to travel there in their energy forms. The passive Guardians disapprove of the proactive Guardians' plan to attack the moon of Qward, but admit their strategy is sound and conclude that Sinestro was lying when he told John that Guy's group must be stopped or the universe would be destroyed.

It turns out that SInestro was lying, and used the ruse to "piggy-back" with John past the energy field. BUT... just then, the Central Power Battery itself speaks through Tomar-Re saying that the Guardians are wrong, and that and that Gardner's group must be stopped after all, because reasons. 

Already in the anti-matter universe, Guy Gardner's troops are attacked by the Weaponers of Qward, and he orders his men to kill them. Hal Jordan refuses, and quits the team. This enrages Guy, who takes the ring Hal is wearing and leaving him to die, saying, "I've wanted to kill you since the day you told me you'd taken the power I could have had! Too bad that ring protects you from me, but the vacuum of space will do the job before I'm even out of sight! Thanks for bein' moral, Jordan! It gave me the edge and the excuse I needed!"

Despite all of the "controversy" in more recent years surrounding "mindwiping" and whatnot, I don't recall a single argument being made at the time against Guy Gardner's actions in this issue, even when an effort was made to turn Guy Gardner into a hero. I can only conclude that no one ever really accepted Guy Gardner as Earth's "one, true Green Lantern," as he billed himself. 

John Stewart is put in charge of the forces against not only Guy's group, but the Weaponers as well. Just before entering the anti-matter universe, the Green lanterns all charge their rings, and we are give five versions of the oath. John's forces arrive on the scene after Guy has left, just in time to save Hal. John brings the now ring-less Hal along with them, and Hal attacks Guy without the benefit of a power ring. Guy Gardner again tries to kill Hal, but John intercedes. Just then, elsewhere, the Anti-Monitor is defeated and the effects reverberate throughout the anti-matter universe. 

Many Green Lanterns lie dead. Tomar-Re, Hal's oldest friend in the Corps, is mortally wounded. As his dying act, he names his successor. His ring leaves his finger and, surprisingly, floats over to John. John already has a ring, of course, but it's Hal's old one. Tomar's ring replaces the one John is wearing, which flies in turn to Hal Jordan. John Stewart makes it official by changing Hal's street clothes into a Green Lantern uniform.

"ONCE A GREEN LANTERN, ALWAYS A GREEN LANTERN!"

#199:

In the wake of the Crisis, 912 Green Lanterns and 14 Guardians lie dead. A ceremony is held to honor them, to make Hal Jordan's reinstatement official, and to give the remaining Lanterns their assignments. (Steve Englehart is already laying the groundwork for the Millenium crossover.) John Stewart and Katma Tui are dispatched to Maltus to retrieve the former Guardian Appa Ali Apsa; Ch'p, arisia and Salaak are sent to apprehend Goldface and Luran Dupo; Hal Jordan is assigned to investigate and report on the status of Star Sapphire (this last assignment is something of a test). 

Again, Joe Staton demonstrates how well he can imitate Neal Adams. 

Hal Jordan completes his assignment, then joins Ch'p, Arisia and Salaak to assist them with Goldface, picking up the battle he was forced to abandon in #151. (Incidentally, I hear the voice of Rene Auberjonois in my mind's ear when i read the dialogue of Salaak.) Hal uses his expertise to defeat Goldface (thus addressing once and for all, I think, the matter Captain Comics brought up a while back) and learns that all of the villains are seeking revenge against Guy Gardner for leading them on a false mission that, if successful, would have destroyed the positive matter universe. In a final twist, Guy Gardner flies to Zamaron and proposes an alliance with Star Sapphire.

#200:

Here's another of DC's random and arbitrary "anniversary" issues, but this one has a cover by Walt Simonson so I'll let it slide.

As the Guardians prepare to abdicate their responsibility and the Zamarons have disappeared, Hector Hammond joins Guy Gardner and Star Sapphire to form the "Triumvirate of Terror." They attack Hal Jordan but are defeated. Green Lanterns from across the universe are returning to Oa after completing their missions, and their prisoners are consigned to sciencells. The Guardians reveal that the Zamarons are the female of their species as the Zamarons arrive, and one of each, Nadia Safir and Herupa Hando Hu, face off against each other. they fight to a draw, and they all depart this reality for "realms unknown" to procreate. Their energies will still power the Central Battery, so their will be no change to the Corps as far as that is concerned. Appa Ali Apsa is designated their mentor, and the Guardians' last action before leaving is to abolish the space sectors, allowing each Lantern to decide for him-, her- or it-self where to patrol.

THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #201-224:

Post-Crisis, with the "sector" restriction removed, Green Lantern became a team book as seven GLs (see above) opted to base themselves on Earth. [In #200, Earth had been revealed by the Guardians to be the next planet, sometime within the next millenium (which gives DC a whole lot of wiggle room) whose race would evolve into near godhood as the Guardians did millenia before. [SPOILER] It hasn't happened yet. [END SPOILER] Unusual by today's standards, this direction change, and even title change, did not launch a "new number one."

I'm going to skip ahead a bit again now. I'm holding out for The Green Lantern Corps to be reprinted someday in hardcover and, if i re-read it as backissues now, I may not be in the mood to read a collected edition when it is released. the "new" title lasted 24 issues and brought about a new status quo (see below). It would fit nicely in two volumes, or a single GLC omnibus.

Earth had been revealed by the Guardians to be the next planet, sometime within the next millenium (which gives DC a whole lot of wiggle room) whose race would evolve into near godhood as the Guardians did millenia before.

So white American Hal Jordan is "the greatest Green Lantern' and now Earth is the home of the future master race. Couldn't the editors and writers see what this sounded like?

Richard Willis said:

Earth had been revealed by the Guardians to be the next planet, sometime within the next millenium (which gives DC a whole lot of wiggle room) whose race would evolve into near godhood as the Guardians did millenia before.

So white American Hal Jordan is "the greatest Green Lantern' and now Earth is the home of the future master race. Couldn't the editors and writers see what this sounded like?

I'm not surprised the editors and writers couldn't see what this sounded like. Green Lantern had editors and writers who had Hal Jordan fall in love with Arisia, who was basically a teenybopper. Everything they did to fix that problematic relationship just made it worse.

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